As everyone who is following this knows, our first two girls weighed in tonight and are ready for action tomorrow. The tournament starts at 12:30 pm (turkish time) originally scheduled for 2pm, howevr the numbers in the weight classes have been so large they decided to go with an earlier start. Even with the earlier start the first night's wrestling went past 11 pm! 66 kg in greco had 52 wrestlers! They held the open ceremonies the first night which pushed everything later by almost two hours. I am hoping they have smoothed out the glitches by day three when we compete and everything will run well. We went over to the tournement today to really check out the venue and see how things were running. There are some real good things and some challenges to this years set up...
The warm up area is in an open air tent out side of the arena. Four mats in almost sauna like conditions. The sun beats down on the tent and causes extreme heat and muggy conditions. We will have to be careful tomorrow as the girls warm up, we really want people to feel good and the conditions are not what we are used to. The arena itself had alot of great energy today, the turkish fans are fantastic. There are a large number of team cubicles inside the stadium, and many of the greco nations have taken control of these. It may be a fight tomorrow to get a couple of our own!!! Team Turkey has their own room with a mat in it. I asked Tamara to get to the stadium at 10 am to claim our space. Russia, USA, Japan had already claimed multiple rooms for their group. The athlete seating area is crazy busy, getting up into the stands and back down is really tough to do, especially with hot coffee in hand. So when we scout matches we will likely need to watch them on the tv's down stairs and not venture into the stands. The lunch that was served at the venue for athletes and coaches was the most dissapointing thing I saw today... there was bread, water and very little food, not what you would expect for a world championships. Our athletes and support staff will be ready to deal with any issues that arrise tomorrow. Bottom line there are no excuses when it comes to our World Team's perfromance...every team has to deal with the challenges that they are faced with!
Carol and Jessie recieved their respective draws for tomorrow. Carol drew the athlete from France first match. Boureyem is a two time world medalist silver and bronze (both at 51kg). I believe she is a tough yet good first match for Carol to start the tournament. She rarely ties up and creates alot of movement which will be good for Carol. I hate to look ahead too much, yet I believe it is likely Carol will face Mongolia in a second match. She defeated the Mongolian girl last year in three rounds (but it was not her best match). On her side of the draw is also Japan and China whom likely pose the toughest challenge. Carol has 40 athletes in her weight class tomorrow! This is the largest women's weight class (so far) at any World championships!
Jessie starts off the tournament wrestling the Spainish athlete tomorrow. I believe she will also be a good first match for Jessie. She will have a hard time dealing with MacDonald's physical strength, and will try and keep things as close as possible, yet does not have dangerous weapons to challenge Jessie. Her second match will likely be the Russian, Rakmanova. She was a bronze medalist at last years world championships. Rakmanova is fairly tough to score on, yet I believe Jessie is more than up for the challenge. She has had an excellent season and talking to her tonight she seemed totally focussed on the task at hand. Like Carol, Jessie also has China and Japan as major challenges on her side of the draw.
For both Jessie and Carol I hope they will approach each match with intensity tomorrow. I believe they can both have a great day!!! I have seen them compete a great deal this season, and have looked great in their last few months of preparation for this tournament. They are ready to compete well against anyone who steps onto the mat to face them.
Please tune into the matches on the tournament website...
Excited for tomorrow!!!